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Sex Without Consent : Young People in Developing Countries
Zed Books

Sex Without Consent : Young People in Developing Countries

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Sex Without Consent

The pressing need to break the silence on non-consensual sex among young people – an issue shrouded by denial, underreporting and stigma – is self-evident. Despite the growing body of research regarding young people's sexual behaviours, the study of coercive sexual experiences has generally been overlooked by both researchers and national programmes. Available evidence has been scattered and unrepresentative and despite this evidence, non-consensual sex among young people is perceived to be a rare occurrence. This volume dispels any such misconception. It presents a disturbing picture of non-consensual sex among girls as well as boys, and among married as well as unmarried young women in a variety of settings. This volume documents, moreover, the expanse of non-consensual experiences that young people face – from unwanted touch to forced penetrative sex and gang rape. Although the focus is on young females, the volume also sheds light on the experience of young males as both victims and perpetrators.

This pioneering volume highlights key factors placing young people at risk, whilst outlining the significant distinctive health and social implications they face. Sex Without Consent also documents the unsupportive – and sometimes abusive or negligent – roles of families, teachers, health care providers and law enforcement agents, outlines promising efforts intended to prevent non-consensual sex or support survivors, and argues for profound changes in norms and values that tolerate or encourage non-consensual sex. The editors, based at the Population Council (New Delhi), the World Health Organization (Geneva), and Family Health International (Virginia) argue compellingly for a radical review and reform of existing programmes designed to prevent this kind of abuse and to support young survivors of sexual trauma in the developing world. Addressing the magnitude, determinants and consequences of sex without consent, this volume provides evidence-based directions for programming.


“This timely book does not only raise awareness about a problem that has not received adequate attention and study. It presents the evidence needed for action, based on a rich research experience of some of the best qualified researchers in the field. It provides a lot to learn from comparative findings in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It draws lessons for legal, educational, policy and health system responses. It outlines approaches for further research and for moving forward. The book is a must read for all those who want to learn more and to do more about the problem of sex without consent among people in developing countries.” —Mahmoud F. Fathalla, Assiut University, Egypt

“This book breaks the silence about sexual abuse of adolescents happening beneath the surface of stable communities. It alerts us to the individual and public health impacts of involuntary sexual involvements that adolescents lack the social, psychological, and economic means to resist. Leading authorities illuminate the subtle pressures that manipulate adolescents into exploitative sexual behaviours in societies that condemn sexual abuse in principle, but condone it in practice. The focus is on developing countries, but its findings are invaluable to understanding adolescent sexual vulnerability worldwide.” —Rebecca J. Cook, University of Toronto, Canada

ISBN:  9781842776810